June 2, 2020
To our Ossining Community,
The ongoing acts of brutality and violence against the black community, including the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, have sent shockwaves throughout our country. As a Board, we want to acknowledge these atrocious acts and share some actions we can take to show our solidarity and commitment to anti-racism in their wake.
In response to these incidents, we have seen our youth lead the way. High school students and recent graduates gathered by the waterfront this past weekend to speak out against racism and discuss what they can do about it. During that event, Ossining Police Chief Kevin Sylvester said, “I am not okay with what happened in Minneapolis. That should never happen anywhere. If that happens here, we are going to have them fired and arrested. And you’re not going to have to wait for it.”
As the organizer of those events, Ossining graduate Jalay Knowles, said, “Today is about developing a plan of action. What are our next steps? What are we going to do?”
We stand with Governor Cuomo’s positive reform agenda, which includes:
a national ban on excessive force and chokeholds;
independent investigations of police abuse;
disciplinary records disclosed of police officers being investigated;
an anti-poverty agenda; and
a real national affordable housing plan.
Locally, we will build on these priorities. We can start with having race and justice be a guiding principle of our brand new Youth Bureau. We can also provide more training to our Civilian Police Complaint Review Board to support their careful and fair investigation of civilian complaints made against police officers.
We feel the sadness and anger in our community. As a country, we can do better. We will start right here in Ossining.
Mayor Victoria Gearity & the Village Board of Trustees